Saint John of Kronstadt, fully John Il’ich Serguiev, aka Holy Father John of the Kronstadt

Saint John of Kronstadt, fully John Il’ich Serguiev, aka Holy Father John of the Kronstadt

Russian Orthodox christian Presbyter and a member of the synod of the Russian Orthodox Church

Author Quotes

The best moments on earth are those during which we meditate upon heavenly things in general, when we recognize or defend the truth, that heavenly dweller and denizen. Only then do we truly live. Therefore, the essential interests of the soul require that we should oftener rise above the earth, upwards to heaven, where is our true life, our true country, which shall have no end.

The Church, through the temple and Divine service, acts upon the entire man, educates him wholly; acts upon his sight, hearing, smelling, feeling, taste, imagination, mind, and will, by the splendour of the icons and of the whole temple, by the ringing of bells, by the singing of the choir, by the fragrance of the incense, the kissing of the Gospel, of the cross and the holy icons, by the prosphoras, the singing, and sweet sound of the readings of the Scriptures.

The human race is one great tree of God, spreading and growing over the whole earth, and covering the whole earth with its branches.

The inner man, amidst worldly vanity, amidst the darkness of his flesh, is not so bound by the temptations of the evil one, and looks out more freely early in the morning, just after waking up, like a fish, which sometimes throws itself up playfully on the surface of the water. All the remaining time he is enveloped in almost impenetrable darkness... Take advantage of these morning hours, which are the hours of a new life, or of a life renewed by temporary sleep.

The longer we remain without confessing, the worse it is for us, the more entangled we become in the bonds of sin, and therefore the more difficult it is to give an account.

The Lord called Himself and is the 'good Shepherd' (Jn. 10:11). If you believe in His guidance, then you will understand by your heart that as a zealous shepherd when feeding his flock does not allow the sheep to disperse, but gathers them together, so also the Lord pastures our souls, not allowing them to wander in falsehood and sins, but gathering them on the path of virtue, and not allowing the mental wolf to steal and scatter them.

The Lord called His disciples blessed, for He said, 'Blessed are your eyes, for they see?' (Lk.10:23). The apostles saw Christ in the flesh; they witnessed His sufferings and His miracles, and heard His words. We too desire to see, and to hear, and so be filled with gladness. They saw Him face to face, since He was physically present. Since He is no longer physically present, we hear His words read from books, and by hearing, our souls are sanctified and filled with blessings, and so we worship, honoring the books from which we hear His words. So also, through the painting of images, we are able to contemplate the likeness of His bodily form, His miracles, and His passion, and thus are sanctified, blessed and filled with joy. Reverently we honor and worship His bodily form, and by contemplating His bodily form, we form a notion, so far as possible for us, of the glory of His divinity. Since we are fashioned of both soul and body, and our souls are not naked spirits, but are covered, as it were with a fleshly veil, it is impossible for us to think without using physical images?

The Lord is the accomplishment of everything good that I think, feel and do.

The Lord, before His Incarnation, let mankind experience all the bitterness of sin, all their powerlessness to eradicate it; and when all longed for a Deliverer, then He appeared, the most wise, all-powerful Physician and Helper. When men hungered and thirsted after righteousness, as it grew weaker, then the everlasting righteousness came.

Shall their unbelief make the faith of God without effect?? (Rom. 3:3). Our wickedness shall not overpower the unspeakable goodness and mercy of God; our dullness shall not overpower God?s wisdom, nor our infirmity God?s omnipotence.

So do not let us stand in church in a state of spiritual prostration, but let the spirit of each one of us on such occasions burn in its working towards God.

Sometimes during a lengthy prayer only a few minutes are really pleasing to God, and constitute true prayer, true service to Him. The chief thing in prayer is the nearness of the heart to God.

Sometimes in the affliction of your soul you wish to die. It is easy to die, and does not take long; but are you prepared for death? Remember that after death the judgment of your whole life will follow. You are not prepared for death, and if it were to come to you, you would shudder all over. Therefore do not waste words in vain.

Prayer is holding all people in our hearts through love. The Divine Liturgy is truly a heavenly service on earth, in which God Himself, in a particular, immediate and most close manner is present and dwells with men, for He Himself is the invisible celebrant of the service; He is both the Offerer and the Offering. There is on earth nothing higher, greater, more holy, than the liturgy; nothing more solemn, nothing more life-giving.

Prayer is spiritual breathing; when we pray we breathe in the Holy Spirit; "praying in the Holy Spirit" (Jd. 1:20). Thus, all church prayers are the breathing of the Holy Spirit; as it were spiritual air and also light, spiritual fire, spiritual food and spiritual raiment.

Prayer is the sign of the great dignity with which the Creator has honored me. But at the same time it reminds me of my nothingness (I am of nothing, and have nothing of my own; therefore, I ask God for everything) and of my most high dignity (I am an image of God; I am made godly; I may be called the friend of God, like Abraham, the father of believers, if only I believe undoubtingly in the existence, mercy, and omnipotence of my God, and strive to become like unto Him during this life by works of love and mercy).

Prayer is the state of continual gratitude. If I do not feel a sense of joy in God's creation, if I forget to offer the world back to God with thankfulness, I have advanced very little upon the Way. I have not yet learnt to be truly human. For it is only through thanksgiving that I can become myself.

Prayer offered to God in truth is imperishable. Now and then we may forget what we have prayed about but God preserves our prayer forever.

Remember that God, during your prayers, is watching for your affirmative answer to the question which He is inwardly asking you: 'Do you believe I am able to do this?' To which question you must from the depth of your heart reply, 'Yes, Lord.'

Remember the Love that laid down His life for men, and do not spare your very life itself for your brother, but unmercifully crucify your carnal man, who turns you away from sacrificing yourself for your brother.

Our requests are necessary expressly to strengthen our faith, through which alone we can be saved. 'By grace are we saved through faith' (Eph. 2:8). 'O woman, great is your faith' (Mt. 15:28). For this reason the Lord made the woman pray earnestly, in order to awaken her faith and to strengthen it.

Our self-love and pride manifest themselves especially in impatience

Our wickedness shall not overpower the unspeakable goodness and mercy of God; our dullness shall not overpower God?s wisdom, nor our infirmity God?s omnipotence.

People mostly pray as if there were no God with them, or as if He did not heed their prayers. Let us ascribe to the Lord at least the same amount of attention that good parents show to the requests of their children, at least that provident and attentive love which good parents have for their children.

People offend you, irritate you, breathe contempt and malice against you; do not repay them in the same way, but be gentle, meek, and kind, respectful and loving towards those very persons who behave unworthily to you.

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Saint John of Kronstadt, fully John Il’ich Serguiev, aka Holy Father John of the Kronstadt
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Russian Orthodox christian Presbyter and a member of the synod of the Russian Orthodox Church